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Top Zanzibar Scuba Diving Sites

Do you want to go scuba diving in Zanzibar?  This tropical archipelago in the Indian Ocean that can be found just off the coast of both Kenya and Tanzania -features some of the most gorgeous and idyllic beaches and scuba diving sites in the world. 

Top Zanzibar Scuba Diving Sites

The beauty can be found both above and below the glimmering waters of Zanzibar, with various scuba diving sites available in the area that feature a wealth of varied sea life- including more than 500 species of marine life- and an abundance of coral reefs. 

There are more than thirty dive sites around Zanzibar- including wreck diving and reef exploration- allowing for a range of diving activities for everyone, from deep divers to snorkelers.

With this in mind, we are going to be looking at some of the best scuba diving sites to be found in Zanzibar. We are also going to be taking a look at when the best time to go diving is. Let’s get started.

Best Season To Go Scuba Diving In Zanzibar

If you want to go scuba diving in Zanzibar during a time when the conditions are more stable, you will find the best time to be in the months of October, November, March, and April.

These months tend to have low winds that aren’t strong and calm oceans, which will allow you to get the best possible visibility as you dive. 

The windy season in Zanzibar occurs in December and January. These strong winds can limit visibility and can lead to limited exploration or even cancellation of your dive altogether.

However, it is important to remember that the rainy season in Zanzibar begins in April, which could affect your diving experience. 

That being said, let’s now get into the diving sites that are some of the best that you will find during your holiday in Zanzibar!

Kungui Dive Site

Located in the south of Zanzibar- more specifically in the Kizimkazi area- Kungui scuba dive site is best known for offering the chance to swim with dolphins, making it a hot tourist spot. 

The site can be found around thirty minutes away from Zanzibar via a boat and is perfect for divers of any experience level, whether it is a beginner, intermediate or advanced. 

The shallower area of the dive site features a coral garden that runs at a depth of around 20 meters before it sharply drops off.

The shallow area works as a great experience for beginners, whereas the wall of the drop-off is perfect for more advanced divers. 

When it comes to the creatures that you will find in Kungui, there is a wide variety to be spotted, including different kinds of fish- such as scorpion fish- as well as turtles, stingrays, and octopuses. 

Tumbatu Island

Tumbatu Island can be found in northern Zanzibar and is made up of three separate dive sites: Mwana, Shetani, and Popobawa. 

All of these sites feature some of the most beautiful coral gardens in Zanzibar, with a variety of hard and soft corals.

The reef around these dive sites begins at around 3 meters and drops to about 12 meters in depth, making it great for snorkelers as well as beginner divers. 

Amongst all of the dive sites found around Tumbatu Island, you will be able to spot octopuses, moray eels, nudibranchs, scorpion fish, leaf fish, and turtles. 

Mwana Wa Mwana

You’ll find Mwana Wa Mwana just to the northwest of Tumbatu Island, and this uniquely named dive spot is great for divers of all experience levels. 

Mwana Wa Mwana is a terraced coral garden that starts off shallowly, with a depth of only 3 meters. As you go on, the reef slowly descends to 12 meters.

You will then be met with a sandy bottom that continues to slope, going down to a depth of 18 meters. 

Some of the sea creatures you might encounter in Mwana Wa Mwana include seahorses, sea turtles, nudibranchs, cuttlefish, stingrays, and more. 

Ras Misikitini

Another dive site that can be found to the northwest of Tumbatu Island, Ras Miskitini is a small coral wall with two depth levels.

The initial depth starts at around 5 meters and drops to 12 meters. You’ll find some coral bommies before the slope gently descends to around 20 meters. 

An eclectic range of sea life can be spotted here, including Spotwing flying gurnard, sea turtles, leaf scorpion fish, and more.

Three Turtles 

Three Turtles can be found underneath both Mwana Wa Mwana and Ras Misikitini and to the west of Tumbatu Island. It is similar to Ras Miskitini in that it is also a small wall coral reef.

The depth isn’t quite as deep as Ras Miskitini, though, with an initial drop of 3 to 12 meters that goes further down to 16 meters following a sloping descent. 

The coral at Three Turtles is known for its bright and vibrant colors, making it a memorable experience for both divers and snorkelers. 

Reef fish are prevalent in Three Turtles, as are stingrays, octopuses, scorpion fish, and sea turtles to name a few.

diving in Zanzibar's clear waters

Mnemba Island

Often thought to host some of the absolute best dive sites in Zanzibar, Mnemba Island can be found in the northeast, being particularly close to the main island. 

There are various dive sites to be found on Mnemba Island, but some of the most popular are Big Wall, Kichwani, and Wattabomie. 

Big Wall

Big Wall is better suited for divers in the intermediate to advanced skill range, as it has a significant depth of 18 meters to more than 35 meters.

The reef within Big Wall is a vertical wall that can be found in the open sea, making it another choice that is better suited to more experienced divers (as does the strength of the current).

Whilst there aren’t many corals in Big Wall, there are plenty of caves and overhangs that are perfect for exploration.

Common sea creatures that can be spotted include tunas, groupers, barracudas, bigeyes, Napoleon wrasses, rainbow runners, and lobsters. Some more occasional sightings include stingrays and white tip reef sharks. 

Kichwani

Kichwani is considered one of the more beautiful dive sites for diving around Mnemba Island, well suited to a range of diving experience levels. 

This sloping wall reef has a depth that ranges from 2 to 30 meters and is covered with both soft and hard corals that harbor a wide variety of sea life.

These include schools of brightly colored reed fish, leaf fish, scorpion fish, napoleon wrasses, moray eels, trigger fish, and much more (including the occasional white tip reef shark).

A mild current also allows you to drift safely along the wall.

Wattabomie

Wattabomie is another diving experience that is well suited for divers of all experience levels. Wattabomie is a coral reef that can be found on the south of Mnemba Island, reaching around 6 to 30 meters in depth.

The reef has a gentle slope, making it perfect for more relaxed diving. The bottom of the reef is unique in that it has a composition that combines beautiful plate coral with incredible bommie coral formations. 

There are various tropical reef fish to be found in the area, as well as king fish, groupers, mantishrimps, snappers, octopuses, Indian Ocean walkmen, barracudas, and more.

There are even bottlenose dolphins and green turtles to be spotted on occasion!

Magic Reef Dive Site

Found in the northern Zanzibar dive sites, the Magic Reef is popular with photographer divers due to the beautiful scenery. 

The reef reaches between 12 and 20 meters and is the perfect spot for those who are most interested in seeing a diverse range of marine life. 

Some of the fish and sea life that you will see if you choose the Magic Reef when you dive include seahorses, frog fish, octopuses, turtles, cleaner shrimp, mantis shrimp, crocodile fish, and more. 

Leven Bank

Leven Bank can be found in the far north of Zanzibar, as it is another dive site that is recommended for more experienced and advanced divers due to its position in the middle of the open ocean.

This dive site is also a slope that descends drastically, ranging from around 12 meters to 55 meters and having a strong current. 

There are plenty of big game fish to be found at Leven Bank- such as tuna and king fish- as well as the likes of moray eels, barracuda, and trevally.

You can also find tiny forms of marine life, such as nudibranchs. Large schools of reef fish are also known to populate the area. 

As well as that, from August through to September, there is the chance to see some beautiful Humpback Whales.

Top Zanzibar Scuba Diving Sites

Boribu Dive Site

Accessible via a lengthy boat ride from Stone Town- an older area of Zanzibar City (which is the main city within Zanzibar)-, the Boribu dive site is full of various, colorful underwater splendors, from spectacular gorgonian sea fans to large barrel sponges, columnar corals and much more!

When it comes to what sea creatures you will find during your time diving at Boribu, the area is prone to schools of pelagic fish as well as moral eels and large lobsters.

If you visit during the right season, it is also possible to spot a whale shark!

Nungwi 

Nungwi can be found on the northeastern tip of Zanzibar, and it is home to various beautiful diving spots, such as Shane’s Reef, Mbwangawa, Kichafi, and more. 

Shane’s Reef is a somewhat unique dive site made up of sandy bottom patches and coral reefs with an initial depth of 10 meters that gently goes down to 14 meters.

This then slopes- again, in a gradual manner-, to 20 meters. 

Both macro marine life and other sea creatures can be found on Shane’s Reef, such as seahorses, black-botched porcupine fish, weedy scorpion fish, Spotwing flying gurnard, and more

Mwababnga

Mwabanga is an extensive coral reef that brings together soft and hard corals via two main areas of plate coral formations.

The depth begins lightly at 7 meters, with gentle slopes that decrease to 18 meters. The mild current allows for some drift diving as you observe colorful reef fish, stone fish, groupers, stingrays, guitar fish, and more. 

Kichafi

Another coral reef diving spot, Kichafi, features soft and hard corals that are fringed by unique and colorful plate coral formations as well as colorful sea cabbage.

With a depth of between 10 and 16 meters, it is well suited to a range of experience levels. 

If you venture to Kichafi for a late afternoon or early morning dive, you might be able to see some large stingrays, cobias, or mackerels. Otherwise, you’ll find reef fish, parrot fish, and spade fish to name a few. 

Hunga Reef

Located underneath Shane’s Reef and to the northwest of Zanzibar, this circular reef is another that is found in the open sea with a depth of 10 to 17 meters.

Hunga is known for its excellent level of visibility as well as its massive bommies that are covered with a range of bright, colorful corals. 

Hunga is an excellent mid-water diving experience, with sea life such as redtooth, bat fish, unicorn fish, crocodile fish, and trigger fish being common as well as sightings of spot eagle rays being possible.

Final Thoughts

So there you have some of the best scuba diving spots that you will find in Zanzibar! 

Hopefully, our list has proven that no matter whether your skill level is beginner, intermediate or advanced when it comes to diving, there are tons of options available to you if you are looking to experience a scuba diving adventure in Zanzibar. 

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